California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently released new revisions to Proposition 65’s “safe harbor” warning language regulations.  Under OEHHA’s proposal, businesses selling goods in California will no longer be able to rely on the standard simple warning language that has been used for decades.  Instead, business will be required to issue new Prop 65 warnings.  A public hearing will be held on March 25, 2015 to discuss the new revisions. 

The new warning language includes:

  • Replacing the current “may expose” language with a more definitive warning: “This product can expose you to chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer . . . .”
  • Specifically listing the following 12 chemicals if used in the product:  Acrylamide, Arsenic, Benzene, Cadmium, Carbon Monoxide, Chlorinated Tris, Formaldehyde, Hexavalent Chromium, Lead, Mercury, Methylene Chloride and Phthalates
  • Adding a warning symbol consisting of a black exclamation point in a yellow triangle
  • Reproducing the warnings in any language otherwise used on the label (Spanish, French, etc.)

Additional warning language is required for chemical exposures from Food, Alcoholic Beverages, Prescription Drugs, Dental Care, Raw Wood Products, Furniture Products, Diesel Engines, Passenger Vehicles, Parking Facilities, Amusement Parks, Petroleum Products, Service Stations, and Designated Smoking Areas.

The proposed revisions explicitly place the obligation to provide warnings on the manufacturer or packager rather than retailers.  Because there is currently no provision allowing businesses to grandfather in old warnings, costly relabeling of products may be required.

The March 25th public hearing will be held at 10:00 a.m. in the Coastal Hearing Room, California Environmental Protection Agency Building, 1001 I Street, 2nd Floor Sacramento, California. Written comments will be received until April 8, 2015.  Email comments may be submitted to P65Public.Comments@oehha.ca.gov.  Comments should include “Clear and Reasonable Warning Regulations” in the subject line.   Comments may also be mailed, faxed, or delivered in person to:

Monet Vela
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
P. O. Box 4010
Sacramento, California 95812-4010
Telephone: 916-323-2517
Fax: 916-323-2610

For further information see http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/CRNR_notices/WarningWeb/NPR_Article6.html